14 October, 10am-1pm
Xavier’s Centre of Historical Research, Alto Porvorim, Goa
Forum against FTAs, Focus on the Global South, Public Services International (PSI),
Third World Network (TWN), and Transnational Institute (TNI)
The BRICS countries are opening up their markets to trade liberalisation and globalisation through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and various bilateral and regional trade and investments agreements that are known as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). All these agreements are driven by Transnational Corporations (based mostly in rich countries) to pry open markets in developing countries and put at risk peoples’ livelihoods & incomes across sectors; access to food, water and energy; provision of essential services such as healthcare and education; and community control over natural resources.
Trade Agreements ensure excessive profits for corporations, and make marginalised groups such as the poor, women, indigenous communities, patient groups, even more vulnerable as they end up paying the cost but have no share in the benefits. The coverage of these agreements is getting wider and deeper and will impact and threaten every aspect of our lives.
Moreover, recent FTAs, in particular the so called mega FTAs that are signed by several countries, include many ‘new issues’ that will raise the cost of medicines and seeds, and give foreign companies (investors) near-complete protection from regulation. These are taking away the control of governments on key policies, including those related to development, public health & environment.
The BRICs countries have partly similar and partly divergent approaches to trade and investment agreements. But given the influence of BRICS countries, common people must understand these approaches and form alliances to be able to counter mega trade agreements. The workshop will provide an update on key trade agreements and their multiple impacts including on agriculture and food, natural resources, livelihoods and incomes, access to social services, rights of women & indigenous peoples, and elaborate on campaigns for equity, justice & fairness in the global trading system.
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